Ménière's Disease

The symp­toms of Ménière’s dis­ease are asso­ci­at­ed with a change in flu­id vol­ume with­in a por­tion of the inner ear known as the labyrinth. The labyrinth has two parts: the bony labyrinth and the mem­bra­nous labyrinth. The mem­bra­nous labyrinth, which is encased by bone, is nec­es­sary for hear­ing and bal­ance and is filled with a flu­id called endolymph. When your head moves, endolymph moves, caus­ing nerve recep­tors in the mem­bra­nous labyrinth to send sig­nals to the brain about the body’s motion. An increase in the endolymph, how­ev­er, can cause the mem­bra­nous labyrinth to bal­loon or dilate, a con­di­tion known as endolym­phat­ic hydrops.

Many experts on Ménière’s dis­ease think that a rup­ture of the mem­bra­nous labyrinth allows the endolymph to mix with per­i­lymph, anoth­er inner ear flu­id that occu­pies the space between the mem­bra­nous labyrinth and the bony inner ear. This mix­ing, sci­en­tists believe, can cause the symp­toms of Ménière’s dis­ease. Sci­en­tists are inves­ti­gat­ing sev­er­al pos­si­ble caus­es of the dis­ease, includ­ing envi­ron­men­tal fac­tors, such as noise pol­lu­tion and viral infec­tions, as well as bio­log­i­cal factors.

Learn more about Ménière’s Dis­ease and when to see an Otolaryngologist >